the scandal of particularity: why christianity has to make a choice…

060: I wish I could master the art of a sexy blank expression.

Universality (philosophy), meaning present in all places and all times

1. The quality of being individual.

all you need to do is sit there. don’t get up. don’t change the channel. leave it right there. let each one pass you by. the smiles. the words that drip with treason after each utterance. let the product consume you. why? because the product was made just for you. sure, everyone else might be watching the same commercial (at least that is what THEY want you to think). but nonetheless, the product under the promise of false-status making will change your existence. it will give you significance.

notice that even in a simple commercial two divergent premises erupt. that of universality (the knowledge that you are aware that everyone else is watching this commercial and might even purchase this item; and the notion or feeling of interpellation (that the commercial was made directly FOR you – particularity).

evil acts have been materializing here in london, more specifically, the riots. in years to come i am sure they will simply be referred to (or dismissed) as the ‘london riots’. as if to implicate all of the blame on the city itself. as if to assume the city itself is a being capable of defending itself against such destructive atrocity. but what if it was?

the irony in the act of terrorism here in london demonstrates both universality and particularity. the desire for the terrorists to perform their act(s) in a communal fashion (the groups were in the hundreds) show us their hope that reality will transform itself through violent revolution. although their heart might have been in the right place (in that they sought change) the mode in which they performed their acts was directly not.

but their desire for universality (for revolution to be true of the whole of london and by implication england, and the world)is thwarted by the blaringly obscure actions of particularity. it started from a paradigm inspired by individual(s) and their circumstance. it was the peculiar events prior to the terrorism that affected such heinous acts.

this leads me to another important point. the promise of the christian message being universal yet hinged on the fact that it relies upon the particular. now, as a hybrid theorist it pains me to separate one because of the other, but this severing is what must happen if christianity is to fulfill the space of universal receptivity.

if it is to be something that is true of humanity then it must strip itself of the promise of particularity. now can something be both here (a la particularity) and then there (a la universality) simultaneously? sure, most would assume ‘time’ is one such example. but this is under the presumption that time is and has always been linear. which the notion of time following a lined path is quite a new concept, the ancient world interpreted as circular. the ancient hebrew culture interpreted time not as some sort of quantity, but rather rather an event by event moment; when no events occurred, time did not materialize.

Gotcha! / ¡Te hemos pillado!

the assumption that god somehow chose a particular group in a particular time does not leave much room for the universal. if we employ this notion as the foundation by which we define ourselves, christianity can and never will be universal. it might have the appearance, but it will be an nuanced one. jesus in his message seems to use the word ‘world’ quite a bit. in some churches there is tendency to personalize one of the most over-quoted verses in the bible (jn. 3:16) and by doing so not only decontextualizes the theme, but also decontextualizes humanity. let’s change some of the rhetoric here.

lets use the word christian to mean ‘particular’ and let’s utilize the word humanity for ‘universality’. if christ came for christians then wouldn’t christ use that word over the world (in this case, humanity). but it seems he insists that the message is for the world not an express few. so, in essence, those who claim to be upholding a christian message inspired by the notion of particularity are upholding something other than the christ-message of universality. if christ is for humanity, and christians are for christians, then there can never be a change toward a more universalized message to which it seems christianity sprung up from.